Small group guided tour with guaranteed departures, max size 14 people
Make it private! Your companions, your dates, your tour - we do the rest.
When tourists first started coming to the Alps in the 1700 and 1800’s, their travels, known as “The Grand Tour”, were always first class and included stops in Europe’s most well-known destinations. We’ve recreated that experience here with visits to three of the most classic alpine destinations. In Grand Tour style, you’ll stay in absolute comfort in distinctive, luxurious hotels, including the newly renovated 5-star Riffelalp Resort in Zermatt, and acclaimed 5-star Grand Hotel Kronenhof in Pontresina – some of the best accommodations each area has to offer. Travel by 1st class rail along the Glacier Express between Zermatt and Pontresina. World-class hotels, scenic train rides, and memorable villages make this tour a great choice for non-hiking spouses and friends who would prefer to spend time relaxing while others hike.
Your tour starts in Mürren, a gorgeous car-free village perched dramatically atop a cliff overlooking the Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau mountains. You then continue on to Zermatt, a hiker’s paradise, nestled beneath the incomparable Matterhorn. Finally, the famous Glacier Express train takes you on a scenic cross-country journey to Pontresina, the serene jewel of the St. Moritz lakes region. All three areas contain numerous unforgettable hikes and vistas that make this tour grand in every sense! Our 8-day tour includes 3 nights in Mürren, 2 in Pontresina and 2 in Zermatt, while the 11-day tour stays 4 nights in Mürren, 3 in Pontresina and 3 in Zermatt.
Your typical day starts with a delicious buffet breakfast at our hotel – a feast of freshly baked bread and croissants, local meats and cheeses, cereal, fruit, eggs made to order, coffee and freshly squeezed juice – which gives you the energy needed for the day ahead. Before setting out on your hike, visit a bakery and market for lunch supplies, or bring some money for a stop in one of the alpine restaurants along your route. Soon, you’ll be out on the trail for the day, with longer and shorter hiking options to choose from, and some of the world’s greatest scenery to explore.
You should finish your hike around 4 pm, giving you time to wash up, relax at the hotel, visit the pool and spa, or perhaps do a bit of shopping in town. All of our hotels on this tour have great views and gorgeous pool and spa areas, so you should look forward to having time each day to enjoy those. Later, enjoy dinner at your hotel’s restaurant. These are true gourmet, multi-course feasts, sometimes centered on local specialties, prepared by some of the finest chefs in the Alps. Our hotels all serve fabulous food, and our dinners will be exquisite, memorable affairs. We’ve left several of your dinner nights free, so you will have a chance to explore on your own.
Mürren – The Grand Tour starts with arrival in Zürich and a train ride to Mürren, our home away from home in Switzerland. The trip takes just over 3 hours.
Mürren is an idyllic, car-free village, perched atop a sheer 3000-foot cliff above the waterfall-filled Lauterbrunnen valley (picture Yosemite with a Swiss village on top). Take some time to explore the village and enjoy the views and fresh air before settling in to your elegant 4-star Hotel Eiger. You’ll be on your own for dinner tonight.
Mürren – One of our favorite hikes starts in town, and gently meanders up the hills to the pastoral fields and alp barns at Spielboden.
Here you cross the Schiltbach stream and start a steep and invigorating ascent to the local peak of Bryndli, where you can take your lunch enjoying birds-eye views of Mürren and the Lauterbrunnen valley, perhaps with a soaring golden eagle for company. From here the trail levels off, and becomes a relaxing stroll through flowery meadows to a quiet alpine hut at Bogangen. The trail back leads over a small ridge for more great views, before dropping back down to Mürren. You’ll be on your own for dinner tonight.
Mürren – The Upper Lauterbrunnen valley curls back beneath the white-capped Breithorn – considered by many to be the most perfect mountain in the region.
It’s also a nature preserve, and contains many wonderful hiking trails. One of our favorites takes you to the small farm at Obersteinberg, where the proprietors keep cows and make cheese by the same simple methods that have been used for centuries. This part of the valley also contains some of the area’s prettiest waterfalls. You’ll be on your own for dinner tonight.
Zermatt – Take the train in the morning, 3.5 hrs to Zermatt, the car-free mountain village at the base of the Matterhorn, Monte Rosa, and many other 4000 meter peaks.
Once in Zermatt, you’ll have time to check out the village, or go straight to the hotel enjoy the spa and wonderful views of the Matterhorn before settling in for dinner at the luxurious 5-star Riffelalp Resort, high above town.
Zermatt – Taking quiet trails through alpine meadows, you have a range of choices up to the wide ridge of Gornergrat, past marmots and small glacial lakes, to what has to be one of the finest viewpoints in Europe.
The jumbled mass of the Gorner glacier stretches out below, and behind that, Monte Rosa, Lyskamm, the Breithorn, and the Matterhorn form a spectacular backdrop. Return to the Riffelalp in the afternoon. Dinner is on your own tonight, and the Riffelalp has a number of ala carte options, or you may choose to spend the evening in Zermatt and return by cogwheel train after dinner.
Pontresina – After breakfast, you’ll say good-bye to the Matterhorn and board the famous Glacier Express train for Pontresina, a mellow and pretty resort town on the eastern edge of Switzerland.
Our home in Pontresina is the friendly and classy 5-star Hotel Kronenhof, with a great pool and spa and wonderful food. The Glacier Express takes the full day, so you will arrive in the evening. Enjoy a short walk through the village or relax at the pool and extensive hotel spa. We’ll include lunch on the Glacier Express, and dinner will be on your own in Pontresina tonight.
Pontresina – From Pontresina, one of our favorite hikes anywhere is the panoramic Muragl traverse above Pontresina.
Ascending through a quiet back valley, you’ll hike up to the gorgeous views from Segantini hut. Traversing from here, pass small alpine lakes on a scenic descent back to Pontresina. Boasting quiet wooded stretches, abundant wildlife, and surprising views of the giant Piz Bernina and the paternoster lakes of St. Moritz, this hike provides a wonderful farewell to the Engadine region. Return to the hotel for a final gourmet dinner.
depart – After breakfast at our hotel, say good-bye to the Engadine region and depart for your post-trip destinations.
On this village-based self-guided tour, discover Murren and Zermatt – arguably the two best hiking destinations in Switzerland…Learn more ›
With charming villages, lofty trails, and flexible hikes, the Engadine tour is an excellent introduction to one of the world’s greatest hiking areas.Learn more ›